Precision Lymph Node Radiotherapy Could Improve Prostate Cancer Outcomes, Study Suggests

Precision Lymph Node Radiotherapy Could Improve Prostate Cancer Outcomes, Study Suggests
A highly precise type of radiotherapy called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may be a safer form of treating lymph nodes in patients with prostate cancer, a clinical trial report suggests. Radiation to pelvic lymph nodes in patients whose cancer has not yet spread is controversial as the treatment may have toxic effects involving the gut and bladder. But the study, published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, suggests that if radiation to surrounding tissue is minimized, the method can significantly improve outcomes. To test the new radiotherapy method, researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., recruited 447 patients with advanced prostate cancer that had not yet spread. The patients were split into five groups receiving varying doses and a different number of radiotherapy sessions. The study compared a traditional schedule to a so-called hypofractionation approach in which patients receive larger doses during fewer treatment sessions, according to the report, “Phase 1/2 Dose-Escalation Study of the Use of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy to Treat the Prostate and Pelvic Nodes in Patients With Prostate Cancer.” Although patients received radiation to the pelvic area, toxicity was manageable, researchers said. Between 8% and 16% of patients experienced bowel or bladder side effects. Survival rates were high in all groups, with 87% of patients still alive at five years.
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